30 Fans of GMOs assert that their use in crops and livestock can help end hunger. They also claim that GMOs can help stop climate change, reduce pesticide use and increase crop yields.Are these claims true? We conclude no.The international report The GMO Emperor Has No Clothes outlined evidence gleaned from many sources. The report is available free at goo. gl/52wuq.GM crops do not produce more food or use fewer pesticides, the report said. As resistant weeds and bugs develop, farmers apply ever more herbicides and insecticides. “The biotech industry is taking us into a more pesticide-dependent agriculture, and we need to be going in the opposite direction,” says Bill Freese of the Center for Food Safety.
If GM crops don’t increase yield, don’t reduce pesticide use and show no significant promise for feeding the world, why do government and industry promote them?35 If GMOs fail, shareholders in Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta and other companies will see their investments plummet. According to Yahoo! Finance, more than 80 percent of Monsanto’s stock is held by institutional holders such as Vanguard and funds such as Davis, Fidelity and T. Rowe Price.If GMOs don’t benefit the farmers who pay more to buy GM seed, and if they don’t benefit the customers who eat them unknowingly, who gains from GMOs?Stockbrokers. And you, if you have investments that own stock in Monsanto or other biotech companies.
Monsanto now controls so much of the world’s seed stock that the U.S. Justice Department launched an “unprecedented series of public meetings” into the company’s business practices as part of a formal antitrust investigation in March 2010. “The price of a bag of soybean seed, for example, has roughly quadrupled since Monsanto began licensing genes,” the Wall Street Journal reported.The Seed Industry Structure chart (available at https://www.msu.edu/~howardp/seedindustry.html) demonstrates how tightly consolidated the seed industry has become. That’s one reason why Monsanto’s name comes up again and again in any conversation about GMOs: The company is far and away the largest involved in GM patented seed.40 The GMO Emperor Has No Clothes also includes an appendix detailing Monsanto’s long corporate history of misleading research, cover-ups, bribes, and convictions in lawsuits covering a range of issues, from Agent Orange to toxic waste discharge to GM soybeans.
The FDA and GMO supporters say that labeling GM foods would be cumbersome and costly, ultimately raising food prices.Labeling proponents point to the European Union, Russia, Brazil, Japan, China, Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, all of which require labels for GM foods, and report costs are far lower than the industry and the FDA claim.Survey after survey and poll after poll have shown that consumers overwhelmingly favor labeling.In October 2011, the Center for Food Safety filed a petition demanding the FDA require labeling on all food produced using genetic engineering. The center filed the petition on behalf of the Just Label It! campaign, a coalition of more than 350 organizations and individuals concerned about food safety and consumer rights. The FDA’s governing rules require it to open a public docket where citizens can comment on the petition.
See more about the Just Label It! Campaign in the box below.45 FDA officials have openly criticized efforts to label GM crops and food. In 2002, when Oregon voters considered Measure 27, a mandatory GMO labeling law, FDA Deputy Commissioner Lester Crawford said in a letter to the governor of Oregon that mandatory labeling could “impermissibly interfere” with the food industry’s ability to sell its products, and could violate interstate commerce laws.The Oregon initiative was soundly defeated, and money was the reason why. “Monsanto took the financial lead against Measure 27, with contributions totaling $1,480,000. Next was Dupont, with $634,000,” said Cameron Woodworth in Biotech Family Secrets, a report for the Council for Responsible Genetics.
Biotech companies Syngenta, Dow Agro Sciences, BASF and Bayer Crop Science, plus the Grocery Manufacturers of America (a trade organization), PepsiCo, General Mills and Nestle USA contributed $900,000 by the reporting date, Woodworth wrote.Other high-ranking federal officials have lobbied against labeling. “If you label something, there’s an implication there’s something wrong with it,” said Jose Fernandez, the U.S. State Department’s assistant secretary for economic, energy and business affairs.The assertion that labeling somehow implies inferior quality is transparently specious.Fruits and vegetables labeled “organic” made up the highest growth in sales of all organics in 2010, according to the Organic Trade Association, up 11.8 percent from 2009 sales.50 If the facts in this article anger you, see the steps in the box below to help you opt out of GM foods.Have thoughts on genetically modified foods? Post your comments on the online, expanded version of this article.